For the past 15 years, people have been telling Nathalie Boyer that traditional bricks & mortar travel agencies are simply not relevant and will soon disappear, reports executive editor, Bob Mowat in this week’s digital edition of Canadian Travel Press.
Well, it hasn’t happened and although Boyer, general manager of Transat Distribution Canada (TDC), is certainly keenly aware of the challenges the retail travel business faces these days – like the aging demographics of travel professionals and reduced agency margins – she’s also adamant that “we are in a very resilient industry.”
In fact, Boyer said that: “At TDC, we are looking to grow our business. We are seeing a lot of opportunities in the market and in the field for us to explore. And when I [talk about] growing or expanding, it’s not necessarily in terms of numbers of locations, but it’s how to [help] our travel professionals to innovate more, to be more creative, to make sure that they are relevant to the client at the end.”
And as Boyer sees it, “not being capable of adapting ourselves and evolving with the demands of the clients” is the biggest challenge for bricks & mortar agencies, observing “if we are not putting the client at the centre of everything we do, we are going to disappear.”
That focus on the customer is critical, she said, because “clients are evolving. They are more knowledgeable. They are more demanding. And as travel professionals, we need to adapt to that if we want to survive.”
She told Canadian Travel Press that today, the average age of the travel professionals in TDC’s network is around 50 years old, while the average age of the customer coming into those offices and buying a leisure package is about 52 years old.
For the full story, check out this week’s digital edition of Canadian Travel Press.